Atheists: STFU

Behind the Big Friendly Curtain of Accommodationism is a mean little man, an Archie Bunker who desperately wants to say to atheists, “Stifle yourself!”  The thing is, we rarely get a peek behind that curtain.  But it’s been pulled aside a bit.  Jean Kazez, famous for her tut-tutting about the incivility of atheists, matched only by her heartfelt denials that she wants atheists to shut up, has finally shown her true colors:

In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility.  Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square.   We can all agree on very plain and simple things–if science, then no creation in 6 days. If science, then no dinosaurs living at the same time as humans.  Lots of limited incompatibilities like that are indisputable.  But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion?  what is compatibility?). And there are important issues about the impact of making that assertion.

Yes, we need to stay out of the “public square,” for those regular pplz are too dumb and unsophisticated to understand what all of us smarties are talking about!  But the accommodationists and religious pplz can still talk! They iz okay!

And yeah, the issue is so technical that I wrote articles about it in The New Republic and USA Today. And those dumb pplz all discussed them!

Although I can’t prove it, I think Kazez’s viewpoint is shared by many of our accommodationist friends—but of course they can’t say that stuff because they’ll look like they’re stifling discussion.  Instead they engage in classical displacement activity, kvetching about tone.

Brother Blackford discusses the issue here.

126 Comments

  1. Brian63
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    “But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion? what is compatibility?). And there are important issues about the impact of making that assertion.”

    That is quite a coincidence, since the sweeping assertion that science is compatible with most of religion is also complicated and technical. Surely, Jean is going to get around to mentioning that too. I will be holding my breath until she does.

    Brian

    • Greg Esres
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      “That is quite a coincidence, since the sweeping assertion that science is compatible with most of religion is also complicated and technical.”

      Ha, good one.

  2. Sajanas
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Ignoring the issue is not the same as solving the issue. Religion derives itself from a lot of unscientific and certifiably false notions of natural history and human history. You can’t just shut your ears and pretend that it doesn’t matter, and more importantly you can’t pretend that religious people are so stupid that they won’t figure out that science causes problems with blind faith unless they are told by atheists. Its important to tell people that the facts aren’t something that should be glossed over and doublethinked away, and that religion shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what is true just because it feels better to have all the world laid out for us in a thousand year old book.

  3. Aratina Cage
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical

    Not really, and even if it was “complicated and technical”, it would still be true.

    (I’d go further and say that science rules out all of religion, as anything religion gets right, like community building, is hit upon for all the wrong reasons.)

  4. Saikat Biswas
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    To be fair, saying I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square isn’t exactly the same as STFU (it’s more like ‘Please be quiet! You’re not helping’).
    However, she’s obviously reluctant to disapprove of those who are actually discussing religion/science compatibility with earnest sincerity in the very same public sphere. So apparently Francis Collins can write all he want about frozen waterfall and God-guided evolution (What is a waterfall? How can it fall if it’s frozen? Who is God? What is guidance?) but the rest of do not make any valid point in arguing against it. Rich.

  5. Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    To be fair, saying I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square isn’t exactly the same as STFU…

    True, but “the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism” is pretty close to STFU.

    • Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Oops, sorry, meant to thread that as a reply to Saikat.

  6. Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Ophelia, You misunderstood the punctuation. Paraphrase–

    “The public square is the wrong place to promote the incompatibility between atheism and objective morality.”

    No, it’s not my view that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism.

    • AR
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      For many antheists, promotion of atheism and promotion of your little list of incompatibilities go hand in hand. They are implications of a world view that excludes gods. Promoting the latter (atheism itself) promotes the former (among many, many other things, those pesky little incompatibilities).

      What an odd thing promoting just atheism would be: “No gods. I can’t go into the implications of this — besides, it’s pretty technical stuff and you wouldn’t understand it anyway — just no gods. No, no really, you won’t get it. Plus, Jean sez I can’t tell you.”

      Shhhh, all. We musn’t confuse the masses.

    • Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Jean, it’s not? Really? It’s not your view that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism? But isn’t that what you said?

      In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility. Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square.

      That certainly looks like “the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism.”

      I suppose one could tease out a non-obvious but possible meaning, in the manner of a literary critic. I suppose one could interpret you as saying only that it’s not scandalous to say X as opposed to actually saying X. But if that’s really all you were saying, it looks more like a kind of trickery or teasing or joke than like straightforward arguing.

      • JustAGuy
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s pretty easy to determine that she’s saying that people shouldn’t promote the incompatibility of atheism and objective morality from that quote. That is quite different from saying that they shouldn’t promote atheism.

        • Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Well I don’t think it is pretty easy. I think it’s possible to find that interpretation, yes, but I don’t think it stands out as clearly the only or best one. That’s partly because / can mean “or”.

          • AR
            Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            It takes some careful reading to tease out what she means, I think. It is bloody unclear — in part because she’s not using the “/” the way it’s normally used. I also understand it as “or”.

            I don’t know how much it matters though… As I suggest above, she might as well say that promotion of atheism in the public square is wrong.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          I agree, but the point still stands – why isn’t that discussion appropriate for the public sphere?

          The only kinds of discussions I think aren’t appropriate for the public sphere are detailed discussions of bowel movements.

          • Marella
            Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            And your hideous suffering during the delivery of your last baby.

            • truthspeaker
              Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

              I don’t entirely agree. Some people really have no idea how painful childbirth can be.

              • Badger3k
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

                …or bowel movements…

      • Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        I can’t fail to doubt that if she hadn’t refrained from avoiding fewer negatives in that sentence, her meaning would not have been less unclear.

        • Rieux
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          No.

        • GregFromCos
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          That is classic Peter!

        • Kiwi Dave
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure that I disagree with you.

    • Rieux
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Leaving your post-hoc hand-waving aside, the unfortunate reality of your post is that, after continually swearing up and down that, rilly, you’re only concerned with the little girl calling the emperor “fatty,” and you’d never advocate silencing her, oh no, never… you have now provided a rationale for silencing her. In so many words.

      I simply have no idea how you can expect anyone to believe that the following:

      In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility. Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square.

      …advocates any other approach to “discussi[ons of] religion/science incompatibility” other than silencing Jerry and all the rest of us who agree with him about religion/science incompatibility.

      You have now explicitly argued that those of us who disagree with you about incompatibility should shut up and keep our notions away from “the public square.” After that, it’s hard to take your continued denials on that selfsame point very seriously.

      Why should we pay attention to your song-and-dance routine about not wanting Gnus to shut up? As you’ve just admitted, that’s exactly what you’re advocating.

  7. daveau
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    “In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility.”

    Oh, I see. From now on, let’s only discuss it at our secret atheist meetings. Sure sounds like STFU to me.

    • Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Besides which, there isn’t any secret conspiracy of evil atheists whose meetings involve arriving in black helicopters and whacking each other over the head with rubber chickens.

      Nosireebob, nothing like that exists at all.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • daveau
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Oh, yeah. I forgot. Nope. No secret atheist society here. Move along, folks. And we certainly don’t have any secret underground bunkers or anything. Nope.

        • Michael Kingsford Gray
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Nope, the EAC (Evil Atheist Conspiracy) certainly does not exist.
          Nor does it hold meetings on the first Monday of every month in the Astor Hotel in Adelaide, South Australia.
          Now, where is my neuralizer?

    • Kevin
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Will that discussion be before or after the baby roast?

      Can’t interfere with the baby roast.

  8. Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion? what is compatibility?).

    Oh, what bullshit.

    Look. It’s easy.

    Science is the process of observing a phenomenon, making a guess as to an explanation, devising a test that would disprove the explanation, performing the test, and looping back to the observation phase. When you’re confident you’re on to something, tell other interested parties so they can check your work.

    Religion is the faithful acceptance of revealed truths. Those truths may be personally revealed to you, or they may be revealed to authority figures you’re supposed to trust on faith. Oftentimes, those authority figures write down their revelations; interpreting those written works depends on more faith-driven personal revelation, again possibly filtered through other authority figures.

    See? Easy. One short paragraph each, and nothing anybody from either camp is likely to get particularly upset about. Science relies upon testing theories that describe observations; religion relies upon faithful acceptance of personal revelations.

    And you certainly don’t have to be a genius to understand that faith has no place in science, and religion has no need for methodical observational testing.

    Le voilà: fundamental incompatibility.

    You can maybe make an argument for NOMA, but only if you specify which phenomenon cannot be understood through observation and testing and which phenomenon cannot be understood through faith. Unfortunately for the religious, the former group has consistently demonstrated itself to be all-inclusive while the latter is empty.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • AR
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      But, wait, Ben! You forgot to define compatibility! And you added “fundamental”! I’m just so stupid and it’s all so technical and complicated that…

      Ahem.

      I agree: complete and utter bullshit, of a particularly fragrant kind. These aren’t grand, unanswerable questions. They’re basic concepts. The kind of elitist asshattery that goes into assuming that most people can’t — not even just don’t, but can’t — understand what basic concepts mean is annoying and offensive in the extreme.

      • Badger3k
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Compatibility – someone who is a scientist can also hold religious beliefs without their brain exploding.

        See. It’s all compatible.

        • Ichthyic
          Posted February 24, 2011 at 1:00 am | Permalink

          Compatibility – someone who is a scientist can also hold religious beliefs without their brain exploding.

          Yes, that is the accomodationist definition of compatibility, indeed!

          It used to be the definition of “compartmentalization”, but, what the hell, redefining words is the newspeak of the land!

          accomodationists not only don’t understand the word “compatibility”, they obviously also do not know the meaning of “epistemology”, either.

          What’s the word they are using instead of epistemology now?

  9. jose
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The public square wouldn’t be a right place if:
    – You want to sell books about it.
    – You have something to hide.

    But what the gnus want is being heard as much as possible, right? Besides, this way is the easiest way possible for someone who want to step in and add something relevant to the discussion.

    For not using the public square enough, scientists were accused of living in an elitist ivory tower. I don’t think that kind of reputation is good for anyone.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      For not using the public square enough, scientists were accused of living in an elitist ivory tower.

      yes, damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

      oh wait, that might be interpreted as stepping on someone’s theology!

      um…

      screwed if we do, screwed if we don’t.
      :)

  10. Frank
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion? what is compatibility?).”

    Did she really write that with a straight face? Reminds me of a Dana Carvey stand-up routine where he parodies O.J. Simpson lawyer, Johnnie Cochran: “What IS DNA anyway? Probably means “did not attack.”

    She is using the time-honored tactic of diversion by saying that the issue of the compatibility of science and religion is ‘complicated and technical.’ “Pay no attention to those obvious and MAJOR incompatibilities behind that curtain!”

  11. Kevin
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    This kind of “reasoning” infuriates me.

    No kidding, I am unreasonably angered by a suggestion that because “someone” might not understand or might be discomfited by the discussion, then the rest of us should not engage in the discussion at all.

    She’s setting herself up as the sole arbiter of what can and cannot be discussed and by whom.

    It’s fascism, pure and simple. Two steps away from book burning and a half-step further from thought police.

    It’s ugly, reprehensible, and wrong.

    • Michelle B
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Look, it is not scandalous for Kasez to know what is best for everyone. We are so ungrateful.

      • Kevin
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        I find it very difficult to be dispassionate about this. I’m usually able to find a sarcastic response, but for some reason, I can’t.

        This is someone who:
        1. Is telling me that I wouldn’t get it. It’s condescending and arrogant. No kidding, I have a 150+ IQ. Just because I don’t have a degree in your particular bit of arcana, that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of understanding a coherent argument.

        2. Is telling all atheists that we shouldn’t tell others that we even exist. It’s a totalitarian command that would consign us to oblivion. Never mind that we have the evidence, logic, and reason on our side. No, we might “confuse” someone … with what? Clarity?

        I’m impossibly pissed off at this blithering idiot.

  12. Josh Slocum
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Subscribing. Because I have to post to do so.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Same here.

  13. truthspeaker
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    “But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion? what is compatibility?).”

    So if it’s complicated and technical, it doesn’t belong in the public square? Why not? Are the public not allowed to discuss such things?

  14. Deepak Shetty
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    But the accommodationists and religious pplz can still talk! They iz okay!

    I dont think your portrayal of Kazez’s view is accurate –
    This is what she did comment in response to
    But do you see a point discussing science/religion compatibility in the public square?

    I need to think about it more. I do think those folks are pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Maybe they should also name smaller, narrower claims–not that all of science and all of religion are compatible, but that this bit of science can be reconciled with that bit of religion. But again…more thought needed.

    from http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8310450667755637519&postID=7274107458700835105&isPopup=true

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Umm. . . my characterization of what she said in her piece is completely accurate. If she backed off in her subsequent comments (as she is wont to do when challenged), then I didn’t see that until now.

      And of course nobody is “pulling the wool over people’s eyes”: that’s a direct accusation that atheists are deliberately misleading folks, and is even more offensive than what she said before

      Finally, ALL of my writings on this issue—and those of many other GNUS as well—describe precisely in what respects science and faith are incompatible. Just read the two pieces I linked to.

      • rjw
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Shes actually talking about the accomodationists there. Shes not incredibly clear.

        • TheBear
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          If she’s *that* unclear she’d better not speak at all until she learns a bit of basic clarity.

          I realize philosophy training makes this difficult, but with some training it’s possible.

          • Saikat Biswas
            Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            So she needs to think more before objecting to people discussing about religion/science compatibility but wastes little time berating those who talk about incompatibility.

          • Deepak Shetty
            Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            That’s actually because I only partially quoted it . If you read the comments in context on her blog it is clear who she is referring to.

            • Ichthyic
              Posted February 24, 2011 at 1:09 am | Permalink

              what’s clear, in both her case and with apparently ALL the accomodationists, is they don’t GET that this is not a piecemeal debate over which pieces of whose dogma is compatible.

              there is a fundamental incompatibility in epistemology involved!

              not like nobody here on this site hasn’t mentioned this before, like a hundred times, but even IN THIS THREAD, you can scroll right up to what Ben said in #8, and while he didn’t use the term, that’s what he’s talking about too.

              fundamental

              incompatible

              epistemology

              FIE, i say! FIE!

      • rjw
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        So as far as I can tell, she agrees that accomodstionists are lying, but needs to think a bit about how much lying is acceptable in this circumstance – eg how much to circumscribe the lie, and make it merely an omission, to avoid provoking scary thoughts in the plebs that will lead to pitchforks and burnings.

        • Deepak Shetty
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          You are projecting your views. She didn’t say anything about how much lying is acceptable. She said she thinks the discussion is without merit – because all three definitions (science, religion and compatibility) are vague enough that you have to carefully qualify each term.
          We can of course disagree with that – but her position isn’t the standard accomodationist one.

          • rjw
            Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it clearly isnt standard, and I was acknowledging that. she clearly states that accomodationists are lying, she liked the initial new atheist books. She also clearly worries about the consequences of not lying to the peons. The definitions stuff I viewed as handwaving, but I’lll admit its open to being taken seriously.

            You are projecting your own views as well. Makes as much sense as your accusation.

            • Deepak Shetty
              Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              You are projecting your own views as well.

              Huh? Read your original comment. Match them with she has said on her post.

              What views am I projecting and on whom?

      • Deepak Shetty
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        And of course nobody is “pulling the wool over people’s eyes”: that’s a direct accusation that atheists are deliberately misleading folks,

        You misread jeans comment. She’s saying that she believes that people who make a sweeping science is compatible with religion are pulling wool over peoples eyes. It wasnt a comment about the GNU’s.
        Im using accurate in the sense that your post implies Kazez’s views are similar to Mooneys – i.e. promote science religion compatibility and dont mention the incompatibilities. Atleast her comments do not indicate this is the case.

        describe precisely in what respects science and faith are incompatible.

        And I agree with you on that topic. However Kazez can think that such a discussion has no point – so long as she thinks it applies to both compatibility and incompatibility.

    • Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Which raises the question: why has JK done so much thought on why atheists should not say science and religion are not compatible and so little on why theists possibly should not say religion and science are compatible? Why is the first claim so thoroughly plowed while the second one is neglected? Why the asymmetry?

      This is what I never get about the anti-gnus: why they are so worked up about gnus and so placid about theists and even theocrats.

      • Christian
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Hmm, let me guess, it’s the aforementioned impact. In the one case you only have to deal with “militant” atheists whereas in the other case you provoke the ire of militant theists.

        At least this is what I get from the pronouncements of the accomodationists.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Well, that’s the first logical conclusion I’ve read. So it’s mostly a matter of personal safety!

      • Deepak Shetty
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Why is the first claim so thoroughly plowed while the second one is neglected?

        I agree – But atleast she has made a clear mostly unambiguous comment on the matter. Which is more than what you get from other accomodationists.
        I notice this elsewhere too. people write entire posts on Jerry Coyne’s alleged ad hominems(which itself is then a ad-hominem by their standards) and say nothing when Jeremy Stangroom comments on the same post and says Coyne’s a fool.

  15. Deepak Shetty
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Bah. Without referencing link

    But the accommodationists and religious pplz can still talk! They iz okay!

    I dont think your portrayal of Kazez’s view is accurate –
    This is what she did comment in response to
    But do you see a point discussing science/religion compatibility in the public square?

    I need to think about it more. I do think those folks are pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Maybe they should also name smaller, narrower claims–not that all of science and all of religion are compatible, but that this bit of science can be reconciled with that bit of religion. But again…more thought needed.

    • Badger3k
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, hopefully when she has read more, she can provide the evidence that “this bit of science can be reconciled with that bit of religion” – we’re still waiting for that from someone. Maybe she can be the first? Start with the Scientific Method and go on from there?

  16. Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the picture of the woman holding the cat: It’s amazing how much of her can be hidden, yet you still get a strong feeling that she’s attractive.

  17. Grendels Dad
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    When people like Darwin pulled aside the curtain and described the actual workings of the world as he saw them, the religious howled.

    When people like Hitchens focused on the curtain and pointed out the terrible suffering caused by its creation, the religious howled.

    When nobodies on the comment sections of blogs agreed with people like Darwin and Hitchens, the religious howled.

    Then people who agreed with Darwin and Hitchens, but not the perceived tone they delivered their message in started howling too. At least we could admire the curtain, they chided. Grandma always said if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything. Are you calling grandma stupid?

    Is it any wonder it feels like being told to STFU?

  18. Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “That is quite a coincidence, since the sweeping assertion that science is compatible with most of religion is also complicated and technical. Surely, Jean is going to get around to mentioning that too. I will be holding my breath until she does.”

    You can stop holding your breath now. I mentioned it a long time ago.

    http://kazez.blogspot.com/2009/07/atheism-loud-and-quiet-part-2.html

    • Rieux
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Impressive. It’s a good thing, then, that accommodationists haven’t made the slightest suggestion that religion and science are compatible since July 11, 2009. If they had, then your decision to continually bait, tone-troll, and (now) advocate the silence of Gnus might look a little suspicious next to your total disinterest in saying the slightest discouraging word about accommodationist behavior or arguments.

      But because no accommodationist has done or contended anything in the past two years that anyone could possibly object to, what appears to be mindless partisanship on your part must just be a mirage.

    • Posted February 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      From your linked post:

      The important thing is to get people to accept evolution, climate science, etc., not to get them to renounce religious ideas that are central to their lives.

      That one single sentence gets to the heart of the accommodationism debate.

      The position of the accommodationists seems to be that the goal is to win people to the evolution team.

      In contrast, the goal of the Gnus is to empower students to be scientists. This requires good analytical skills in addition to broad familiarity with the raw data. Just as a physics teacher shouldn’t convince students to take it on faith that dense objects near the earth’s surface accelerate down at about 10 m/s², a biology teacher shouldn’t convince students to take it on faith that starfish and forget-me-nots share a common ancestor.

      Until that disconnect is resolved, the Gnus and accommodationists will never see eye-to-eye.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • truthspeaker
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        My goal is to empower people to be critical thinkers, whether they end up going into science or not. Thinking critically isn’t just a vital skill for doing science, it’s a vital skill for being a human being.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          First time I’ve ever disagreed with Truthspeaker. :) Billions seem to survive just fine without critical thinking.

          • Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Ah but truthspeaker didn’t say for survival, but for being a human being. A vital skill for being a human being can mean a skill that a human shouldn’t lack, on pain of wasting its humanity.

            • truthspeaker
              Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

              That is what I meant, but using the word “vital” made it come out wrong.

      • jose
        Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        That seems to be the main difference. Some want people to get specific instances of science, while some others want to go deeper into the core of what makes those examples science, that is, critical thinking.

        The bad part is that critical thinking is incompatible with religious dogma.

        Addresing the core issue (critical thinking vs dogma) is harder, but when it works it creates a much stronger foundation, a framework that can be applied to all kinds of instances like evolution or climate science or choosing your car insurance. It is a bottom-up approach.

        Getting people to accept specific instances of critical thinking without attacking the concept of dogma creates, when it works, a conceptual building without a solid foundation. It’s more superficial, but theoretically this way might be easier to succeed because it doesn’t affect deeply held beliefs.

        However, given the current wave of outspoken atheism in the US, I think the gnu approach is getting more success than the accomodationist right now.

    • Brian63
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      That really is very well that you wrote that a couple years ago. There is a significant difference in your 2 mentions though, given the context. In the remark from 2009, you mentioned that the science/religion (in)compatibility issue is a complicated one that SCIENTISTS should not be making public statements about. In this most recent comment, you mention that it is ATHEISTS who should not be making these public statements about it. You nowhere mention what RELIGIOUS PEOPLE who make similar public statements should do. There are countless religious leaders who make statements about the issue (which vary in content; they may say science and religion are compatible, are incompatible, or they may say evolution is not real science, or say evolution is compatible with religion). Would you be willing to make a post describing how public or silent RELIGIOUS LEADERS should be about making statements on science/religion (in)compatibility?

      I do not think it would serve the atheist movement well to sit silent on the issue while religious leaders are quite vocal on it.

      Brian

      • Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough–the topic’s a bit different, but I do say the same things about compatibility and incompatibility. I don’t say the latter is troubling and technical, but the former isn’t. I think that’s what I was being charged with. I also make it clear I’m not impressed with facile attempts to make science seem compatible with religion.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          But are you really saying that troubling, technical things shouldn’t be discussed in the public square?

          • Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            The argument in my post was specifically about a theory in metaethics, and how atheists defending it might play into popular suspicions that atheists aren’t trustworthy. I think that example does support the claim that candor is sometimes a bad idea. But you have to think about these things on a case-by-case basis. Obviously, you can’t generalize–I never said that all troubling, technical things should be kept out of the public square. And also (I’m not sure how many people misunderstood) I certainly never said atheism itself shouldn’t be discussed in public. By all means–it should.

            • truthspeaker
              Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

              Wow.

              Not only do I strongly disagree, but I find the whole idea that “candor is sometimes a bad idea” morally repugnant.

              • Deepak Shetty
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                Not married are you?

              • truthspeaker
                Posted February 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

                Let the record show that before Jean K called some of us “morally repugnant”, I called one of her IDEAS “morally repugnant”.

            • Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

              Jean – It’s not that people misunderstood – it’s that you implied.

              What did you imply? That gnu atheists are rude noisy children, because they keep on discussing atheism in public.

              You now want to say no: you meant that gnu atheists are rude noisy children, because they are contemptuous. But we (I can say “we” since you linked to me in the emperor post and the reply to Russell) don’t agree that we are contemptuous. This means that all we can take from your allegories about emperors and adults and children is that you take any discussion of atheism in public (at least if it’s not hedged about with apologies and unction) as contemptuous.

              This is always the problem. We get told not to write articles like the one Jerry wrote for TNR; we get told not to be dicks; we get told not to be children; we get a constant stream of “stop being so rude and childish” when we don’t agree that we’re being rude and childish. We can’t possibly not take that as telling us not to talk about atheism in public. You seem to think it should be obvious that you’re not saying that. It isn’t.

              • Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

                Ophelia,

                My original post left no room whatever for misunderstanding. I praised candid atheism–naming Dawkins and Harris as people I admire.

                In my story they were kids too, so the kid metaphor had no significance. In PZ Myers Courtier’s Reply, atheists are kids as well. So again, the kid thing is immaterial.

                You can disagree with me about what I find contemptuous, but you just can’t say I’m against candid atheism. The original post rules that out. So does my candidly atheist 2007 book, and so do my candidly atheist Free Inquiry articles, and my candidly atheist blog.

              • Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

                Yes, Jean, you praised “candid atheism”—except when we’re so candid as to say that religion is incompatible with science. I’ll quote you again since you seem to have either forgotten what you said or are trying to avoid discussing it:

                In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility*. Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square.

                Or is that form of atheism too candid for you? Was I too candid in my USA Today and New Republic pieces? It seems so, since you seem to have accepted Mooney’s verdict on the latter, at least.

                You’re not just sitting on the fence—you’re pirouetting on it.

              • Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                Jerry, I was completely clear that I was praising candid atheism in the original post. In my reply to Russell, I go on to discuss the policy of “constant candor”–candor about all matters (of concern to atheists), and bring up what strikes me as an interesting exception–the metaethics case (which you ignore in your post today). The point is that there really are exceptions. So we shouldn’t jump to the assumption that someone against candor on some specific issue has said something beyond the pale.

                But then, seeing that there are exceptions only opens the door to the possibility that discussing religion-science incompatibility is another. I affirm that, but you leave out the next sentence, the one where I express tentativeness. I say reasonable people can disagree about it, and that I’m more sure about the metaethics case. This is hardly “shut up” sort of stuff.

                I rather like the idea of sticking to local compatibilities and incompatibilities. It’s inspired by a view that Amartya Sen has about justice. He says we don’t need a whole theory of justice (which is hard to get) to make local comparisons: this is more fair than that. It seems like an interesting possibility that local religion-science compatibilities and incompatibilities can be established, without having to make any big, broad statement about religion vs. science.

                As to your TNR article–I’ve never actually said I agreed with Mooney about it. My attitude is just that I don’t find his view absurd, and don’t think it amounts to STFU. The USA Today article is much further out in the public square, so I have more doubts about it. I also had objections to the content, but that’s another story.

              • whyevolutionistrue
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                Sweet Jebus, I give up. Read what you said again, which I append for the third time:

                In any event–the point is that there’s nothing remotely scandalous about saying that the public square is the wrong place to promote atheism/objective morality incompatibility*. Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square.

                The public square is the “WRONG PLACE.” I presume that you meant what you said there.
                (And I was concerned with the religion/science stuff, not the ethics stuff.) Now you come along and say that SOME PUBLIC SQUARES (like The New Republic) might be okay, while other MORE PUBLIC SQUARES, like USA Today, are the WRONG public squares for discussing the incompatibility of science and faith. Why, exactly, is that? Because more “average Joes” read USA Today, and they’re too dumb to grasp the issues?

                Really, I’m tired of your waffling. You can’t bring yourself to say openly whether I should or should not have published those pieces, or whether it’s okay or not to discuss science faith incompatibility in public places. Earlier you said it was not; now you hedge about that. And you simply avoid expressing an opinion about what I wrote—whether or not I should have written it. I’m sorry, but I consider that intellectual cowardice, akin to people who call themselves “agnostics” when they’re really atheists, all to look better to the public. I am proud of what I wrote, and think it’s incredibly condescending to say that these issues shouldn’t be hashed out in public.

                The reason why people are going after your views is because you are being slippery, taking great care to avoid taking a firm stand on these issues.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

                “The point is that there really are exceptions.”

                Yes, that’s the point you are trying, and utterly failing to defend.

                “So we shouldn’t jump to the assumption that someone against candor on some specific issue has said something beyond the pale.”

                I have no trouble reaching such a conclusion with regard to issues of atheism, religion, philosophy, ethics, metaethics, and science. I can think of no good reason for not being candid about any and all issues related to those disciplines.

                See my post upthread about the one topic I feel it is justifiable not to be candid about. There might be a few others, but not many, and none that involve issues of concern to other people.

            • Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

              You can disagree with me about what I find contemptuous, but you just can’t say I’m against candid atheism. The original post rules that out. So does my candidly atheist 2007 book, and so do my candidly atheist Free Inquiry articles, and my candidly atheist blog.

              But the fact that you sweep so much into the “contemptuous” basket means that from my perspective you are against candid atheism. I get that you say you’re not, sometimes, but you also spend a hell of a lot of time and attention rebuking atheists you consider rude and childish. I don’t share your metric for what is rude and childish and what is not. So sure I can say you’re against candid atheism. You’re against examples of atheism that I take to be candid.

            • Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

              But look, my argument is about impact, which is a function of who’s going to read X, how well will they understand it, and what will they do with the information. So OF COURSE (I can capitalize too) it matters which public square we’re talking about.

              But if you insist on a definitive answer, OK. I’ll say yes to TNR, no to USA Today. I have a feeling that now that I’m being unslippery, you’re not actually going to be any happier.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

                Well, no, because what you’re proposing is elitist, almost authoritarian. The clearer you are about it the uglier it sounds.

                That said, it is better to be clear about an ugly thing than unclear, so we can get a good idea of how ugly it is.

              • Saikat Biswas
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

                And what exactly is it that you fear that the average, unintelligent reader of an average, unintelligent newspaper is going to do with the kind of scientific information that invalidates every single one of his/her cherished religious beliefs?

              • Rieux
                Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

                I’ve seen it contended (by, I believe, P.Z. Myers) that it’s actually Gnu Atheists, and not our accommodationist or apatheist brethren, who demonstrate real respect for religious believers: we respect believers enough to expect that they will be able to handle challenges to and critiques of the things that they believe like mature adults. Various individual believers sometimes fail to live up to this expectation, but plenty of others do just fine. Anyway, it’s Gnus who provide religious believers with the opportunity to discuss these issues openly, seriously, and (heh) candidly.

                This thread focuses on the other side of that coin—perhaps the starkest example of it I’ve seen. The arrogance and elitism that frankly pours off of Kazez and her arguments, right here in this comment thread-let, is simply mind-blowing. She posits that believers (especially the ones who read USA Today!) are petulant and stupid children incapable of responding constructively to open discussion of moral error theory or of the incompatibility of religion and science. The disdain she shows toward lowly proles and their USA Today is just incredible.

                Much of this has to be chalked up to Kazez’s severe classism (gee, I wonder what’s different about believers who read The New Republic?)—but regardless, it’s further grist for the mill: Gnus treat believers like adults, while accommodationists treat them like mindless infants.

                Finally, can we please let this exchange—beginning with “Likewise, I don’t see much point in discussing religion/science incompatibility in the public square” and ending with “I’ll say no to USA Today”—finally lay to rest the notion that Jean Kazez (a) is in favor of candid atheism and (b) doesn’t tell atheists to shut up?

                Declaring that Jerry Coyne should not publish the article he did in USA Today is a direct statement of opposition to candid atheism. It is a direct statement that atheists should shut up. I think those points need to be made on the record, so that Kazez’s future claims to innocence on those scores can be rebutted with reality.

        • Kevin
          Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Jean: Let me clue you into something.

          You’ve failed.

          You will never win.

          You cannot put the genie back in the bottle.

          Live with failure every single minute of every single hour of every single day of the rest of your life.

          I have no use for someone of your “intellect” telling me what I can or cannot say or learn.

          And you will have to live with that abject failure forever.

          • Ichthyic
            Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            And you will have to live with that abject failure forever.

            KAAAAAAHHHHNNNNN!”

            sorry, just had to.

          • Rieux
            Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            BTW, Kazez has quoted this comment over at her blog (see here and scroll down).

            So you’re famous or something, Kevin.

            • Rieux
              Posted February 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

              Holy cow—look again! Now you’re Exhibit A for Jerry’s “morally repugnant” status!

              • Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

                Contest? Who is most morally repugnant?

                I bet I have a good shot at the title!

            • Felix
              Posted February 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

              I think it should be pointed out that Kevin’s post was both ugly and ridiculous.

              • Rieux
                Posted February 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

                Really? It seems overblown and a little silly to me, but “ugly”?

                As several others, here and elsewhere, have pointed out, Kazez’s argument provokes very understandable offense. That Kevin expressed that offense in a slightly odd way surely doesn’t deserve to be called “ugly and ridiculous”—or, more to the point, Jerry doesn’t deserve to be called “morally repugnant” for the heinous crime of not censoring it.

  19. H.H.
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Since it’s impossible to put the genie back into the bottle at this point, and I don’t see the gnu atheists backing down any time soon, these calls for silence are nothing more than insignificant squeaks which can be safely ignored. It’s like those who are still against gay marriage. It’s going to happen whether you’re for it or not.

    If Jean Kazez wants to rail against things outside her power to stop, if she wants to look backward and ignore the history of progress, if she wants hold up her hands and tell everyone to turn back now before it’s too late while mobs of people stride purposely past her without so much as a glance in her direction, then of course it is her right to do so. It’s a loser’s game, but it’s her decision to play. And if she doesn’t like being bumped into so much, she can always stop whining and simply get out of the way.

    • Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      But, but … if only the gays, I mean the gnus, didn’t FLAUNT their ways and upset decent folks. [/snark]

  20. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    But the more sweeping assertion that science rules out most of religion is complicated and technical (what is science? what is religion? what is compatibility?).

    Not that I have read Kazez take on the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, but that was pretty much what the original story was about. So are we now to tell the story of The Empress’ Gnu Clothes?

    And there are important issues about the impact of making that assertion.

    Data missing.

    We know that accommodationism is likely wrong:

    “we have a body of research on advertising that shows that repetition and ubiquity are essential for mainstreaming an idea.”

    So the important impact may be to uncover that accommodationism is not helpful. Would that be so terrible? Isn’t it incumbent for skeptics to get to the facts and reveal falsehoods and social problems?

    Btw, if accommodationism had existed at the time, Enlightenment had faced a terrible divisive force from within. Luckily it didn’t happen, but reason was made priority. But how can we stand by today and see reason wooed by unreason, and not stand up against the forced marriage!?

    • Ichthyic
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      So are we now to tell the story of The Empress’ Gnu Clothes?

      yes, evidently, if we are wearing the right colored glasses*, some small pieces of the emperor’s clothes are actually visible!

      Harumble!

      *the ones with lenses that have bits of clothing painted on them.

  21. ernie keller
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    So long as compatibilists continue to make the case that accomodation is good for science education, it will be necessary for those opposed to that view to make their case as publicly as they can. Given this reality what good can come from inventing reasons why they shouldn’t?

    It appears obvious to me that atheists who don’t want to have this public discussion are trying to avoid saying that they agree with the gnus on the substantive point, that compatibility between science and religion is not epistemically viable. So accomodationists change the subject either to 1) who is being civil or 2)whether the subject is too difficult to discuss in the presence of the philosophically deprived (the “children”).

    Note that the various difficulties that the discussion has engendered are entirely due to this change of subject. Why is there so little argument about the epistemic challenge? I think it’s because few atheists think there’s a good case to be made for genuine compatiblity, but some atheists think it’s a bad idea to say so in public.

    I don’t think this strategy was well thought out. It requires that people take positions that they don’t hold privately, and to fashion elaborate and implausible rationales for doing so. I know I couldn’t do this, and it appears that the people who thought they could can’t do it either.

  22. Brian63
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    While we disagree with Jean on the content of her arguments, she still should be commended for stopping by here and addressing criticisms made of them. Too few people do such things.

    One other change to the emperor/nudity metaphor would make it more relevant and accurate. Instead of the emperor just passively moving through the streets without any clothes, imagine that he had also decreed that all the children in their schools should verbally give homage to the emperor’s flashy wardrobe, that the tax dollars of all the citizens were used to display banners around the city proclaiming the elegance of his outfits, that every public event (such as sporting events, sessions of their Congress, etc.) were preceded by people swearing their loyalty to honoring the emperor’s fashion sense, etc.

    If all that was the case, then I think we should be a bit more encouraging of people who publicly declare that the emperor is indeed really naked.

    Brian

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      “While we disagree with Jean on the content of her arguments, she still should be commended for stopping by here and addressing criticisms made of them. Too few people do such things.”

      Agreed.

    • Clemmie
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Seconded. Thanks for engaging here, Jean.

      • Sajanas
        Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Thirded, its nice to at least see a discussion, rather than people being banned or comments being closed.
        One hopes that with the kind of hedging I see in JK’s comments, she might actually change her mind a little. Or at least see why people might be upset at her assumptions.

  23. Michael Kingsford Gray
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Accomodationists are nothing, if not mind-bogglingly arrogant and embarrassingly condescending.

    • Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      That’s how I see it, too.

      I’m a former Christian, and I’m grateful to those atheists who respected me enough to talk straight to me (although I found some of it upsetting at the time) instead of treating me as an hopeless, ignorant fool who is too fragile to handle reason and who need not support his ideas with evidence.

  24. Martin
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Not that I have read Kazez take on the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes

    You didn’t miss much. In her sad fable, accomodationists are the adults, and the gnus are the children who are not satisfied with the emperor being naked, no, they also call him names ! Kazez is as clumsy as she is embarrassing.

  25. Sigmund
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Kazez and Mooney’s goals seem to be the short term increase in the US public’s acceptance of the scientific consensus about certain issues (like climate change and, to a lesser extent, evolution).
    If you limit yourself to that issue then their strategy (speak up religious scientists, STFU atheist scientists) is logical and might even, arguably, be the optimum strategy to achieve those aims.
    If your goal is different (such as increasing skeptical thinking in society in general and removing religious based discriminatory practices such as anti-homosexual policies, blocking stem cell research, birth control issues) then the accomodationist strategy is going to seem inept.
    It is the failure of the accomodationists to admit we have different objectives that lies at the heart of this dispute.

    • SAWells
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      You’re too generous about the accomodationist goal. It seems to be to persuade more of the US public to _claim to accept the scientific consensus about evolution and/or climate change, when asked_.

      Actually checking whether they know what the scientific consensus is would be disastrous.

  26. Matt Penfold
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I have read through the comments here, and one thing is becoming very clear.

    Kazez has real problems when it comes writing in a clear manner. What she actually said in the blog post in question, and what she claim she mean do not tally.

    To make matters worse, rather than look to her own ineptitude she blames us for not understanding. If it was just one or two people then she might have a point about being misunderstood, but it is not just one or two, it seems to be pretty much everyone who has read the post.

    If anyone should refrain from commenting in the public square it should be Kazez, at least until she learns to write more clearly.

  27. Bruce Gorton
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I think the major problem with Kazez’ argument – even in its backed down form with regards to technical issues – is that it doesn’t deal with minority demand.

    The average layperson may not, for example, be all that interested in the finer points of quantum mechanics – but that doesn’t mean that those points shouldn’t be made available to the minority who would be.

    A further issue here is the fad factor. If we look at fads – they tend to start off in small niche markets and then spread to the public at large as more people find out about them.

    How do we know, really, that people won’t suddenly get into metaethics if presented with good enough explanations of the field?

    I am reminded somewhat of that old saw about the shoe salesman – a poor salesman goes to this primitive tribe and finds nobody wearing shoes – so he despairs. The good one orders extra crates.

    That something is of minority interest to a market, possibly even opposed by a sector of that market, does not mean that it should not be made available.

    The common square is a perfectly reasonable place for highly technical issues to be had out – because that pulls people in and gets their interest.

    If we restrict the squares we operate in, we limit the potential “market” for our ideas – and really isn’t that kind of a stupid thing to do?

  28. Rieux
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    For anyone who’s interested, Kazez has decided to cry into her beer on her own blog (see here and scroll down to the February 24 comments).

    Interestingly, the one participant to this discussion who has advocated that her opponents stay silent and keep their ideas out of the public square has the gall to call those opponents “morally repugnant.” What a disgrace.

    Here’s where I am not on [Gnus'] side about–the way I think about pluralism and disagreement. This pertains both to the way atheists mix with believers, and to the way some types of atheists mix with other types of atheists. The “gnu” crowd has a crude idea about how this is supposed to work. They are warriors, in both arenas. I have other ideas about how it should work–with far more mutual respect and reflectiveness.

    That’s it–that’s the whole disagreement. I agree about God, lean toward their side about science and religion, agree on some points about the damage done by religion, agree we needn’t be hush-hush about religion.

    But about how pluralism and disagreement should be countenanced and dealt with, I am in another camp entirely. I find “their” camp not just misguided, but sometimes morally repugnant. Which is why I speak up about it.

    “Agree we needn’t be hush-hush about religion”? Honesty is just not her strong suit.

    • Posted February 24, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Oy.

      • Helen Wise
        Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        I’m not entirely sure that she needs to be considered any longer.

        Yes, she’s come to this website, and engaged those who disagree with her, including Dr. Coyne, and that does seem admirable, except that after, she’s scurried off to her own website, and written this:

        “I find “their” camp not just misguided, but sometimes morally repugnant. Which is why I speak up about it.”

        Morally repugnant? Really?

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted February 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Well, one of us should go over there and ask her why she thinks we’re “morally repugnant.”

          If that’s not name-calling and incivility, I don’t know what is!

          LOL!

          • Rieux
            Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Well, I for one think that name-calling and incivility are just fine, as long as you’ve got the goods to back them up.

            I think “morally repugnant” is a fine charge, as long as one can support it with substantive evidence and reasoning.

            Color me skeptical that Kazez can actually do so in this case.

          • Ichthyic
            Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Well, one of us should go over there and ask her why she thinks we’re “morally repugnant.”

            wanna hear something funny?

            one of her commenters suggested she ignore anyone here that wasn’t completely polite in their responses.

            http://kazez.blogspot.com/2011/02/reply-to-blackford.html?showComment=1298582279141#c8685806840699565718

            so, I guess that means she should just ignore you Jerry, as obviously you must not have said anything worth listening to, being as how you weren’t completely deferentially polite and all.
            :)

          • Rieux
            Posted February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Well, the explanation is in (hi, Jean!): it’s Kevin. You let Kevin’s comment through. No further explanation offered.

            What an odd person Kazez is.

            • Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

              No no no no no no, she’s just misunderstood, that’s all.

            • Ichthyic
              Posted February 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

              What an odd person Kazez is.

              she also censors her blog, turns out.

              apparently, she doesn’t like hearing that you can’t simply redefine the word “compatibility” to mean whatever you want it to mean.

              shocker.

  29. another commenter
    Posted February 25, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    It has consequences to pretend that naive questions have simple answers:

    Are science and religion compatible?

    Where does the digital information in DNA come from?

    And the compartmentalization that scientific questions are hard whereas philosophical questions are easy won’t help you.

    • SAWells
      Posted February 25, 2011 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      The information in DNA comes from about four billion years of reproduction and differential survival. Why is that problematic?

      • another commenter
        Posted February 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Oh yeah, now it’s clear! That’s why all the textbooks about evolution only contain this sentence because that is all that can, must, and needs to be said about the issue.

    • Sigmund
      Posted February 25, 2011 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Poe?

      • Ichthyic
        Posted February 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        nope, just blind ignorance.


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